What's the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?
How Does Nordstrom Offer Great Discounts on New Products During the Anniversary Sale?
- "Nordstrom Exclusive" products. Over the years, Nordstrom has began stocking more and more "exclusive" collaborations with brands and private labels (Trouvé, Zella, Leith, BP, Halogen, Caslon, and Hinge are a few of their most popular private labels). Private labels and exclusive products equal higher profit margins. While this exclusivity sounds appealing, I'm not always a fan. What it can often translate into is a higher ticket price for less impressive quality. Think the outlet phenomenon; when outlets started stocking their own product rather than carrying left overs from other stores, they priced an inferior-quality product at an appropriate price, and then marked a higher "retail" price to convey value, often false, to customers. I'm not saying this is always the case, I have plenty of private label Nordstrom items I love, but it's just something to keep in mind when shopping Nordstrom Anniversary.
- Buying riskier products. Ever noticed that Nordstrom Anniversary items are particularly trendy? There are a lot of seasonal colors, funky finishes, and very trend-centric items. For example, one year they had a small handful of dark wash men's jeans and a huge array of coated jeans, wild colors, and kind of strange cuts (think drop-crotch maroon Diesel jeans...). Typically, the trendier the merch, the better deal a vendor is willing to strike. Good deals from vendors mean an opportunity to charge less and still make an impressive margin.
- Nordstrom is HUGE and has a lot of buying power. Okay duh. But this wouldn't be a complete list if I didn't mention the obvious. Nordstrom has a lot of pull and maintains typically strong relationships with vendors. Not only that, but Anniversary is a great time for customers to get introduced to new brands, so many vendors are willing to sacrifice their own margins to participate.
- Volume. Nordstrom sales in July rival those of December. So even if margins are a little lower than usual, the sheer amount of stuff sold makes up for it.
How to Get the Best Values During Nordstrom Anniversary...
There are a few general types of items included in the sale. I lump them into four groups: wardrobe staples, trendy items, and hot-ticket buys, and fillers.
- Wardrobe staples are items you could buy all year-round- think a dark wash pair of skinny jeans, pointed black flats, classic leather jackets, nude pumps, etc. These items are a great buy during the sale. Sometimes there are even items that were stocked at full price prior to the sale, for example AG's brushed twill 5-pocket pants (best men's pant ever, seriously though), and this is an indicator that you're getting a fantastic value.
- Trendy items are those funky finished, seasonal, "risky" items discussed above. Think faux fur shawls, coated denims, printed coats, and so forth. I normally pass on these items, especially if they are a private label brand, because they inevitably get marked down substantially deeper a month or two after the Anniversary sale ends. Is it a little riskier to wait? Yes, however it's not like you'll get a lot of wear out of a printed coat in August anyways. My rule of key is to buy it if you can't live without it, but if you just like it and are drawn in by the notion of a good deal, it's wisest to pass it up. True story- there was a Halogen striped midi skirt in last year's sale I really liked. It was originally about $80, marked down to around $55 for Anniversary. Within 3 months it was about 60% off, and eventually ended up at the Rack for $11. Extreme case? Yes, but it definitely illustrates that the markdown process goes much quicker for a lot of the trendy Anniversary items.
- Hot-ticket buys are those items that sell out, and sell out fast. Frye boots, anything Tory Burch, North Face (back in the day) and so forth. These items are my favorite Anniversary buys, and always worth it.
- Fillers are... everything else. Not quite trendy, not something stocked all year round, and not something that's going to fly off the shelf. They're often mid-price point items that would be a great addition to any Fall wardrobe, such as Vince Camuto booties, printed sweaters, or business-appropriate pencil skirts in Fall tones. They often get marked down shortly after the sale ends, like the trendier items. I like to follow the same decision-format too- if I love it, buy it. If the sale price is a big part of the appeal- pass.
*These guidelines apply to apparel, shoes, and accessories. The cosmetics deals are always awesome, independent of whatever "group" they may fit in.
Now you may be wondering why I have so many opinions about Nordstrom Anniversary. Well, I've worked four Anniversary Sales, and dozens of other Nordstrom sales. So, I've had the pleasure of being able watch what's left over, breaking out the red pen to do all those markdowns a few months later, and noting how fast the inventory gets shipped off to the Rack.
One last note-- none of this is meant to discourage you from shopping Nordstrom Anniversary, or hate on Nordstrom at all. I LOVE Nordstrom (as evidenced by the amount I shop there). I just thought that during this time when everyone is hyping the event to the Nth degree (so punny) that a little more insight may be helpful in making wise shopping decisions :)
TL;DR Nordstrom Anniversary is an outstanding time to shop for brand new Fall items at a discount. You'll get the biggest bang for your buck by investing in wardrobe staples and hot-ticket items that aren't "exclusive" to Nordstrom.
I'd love for you to link up your favorite outfit post from this week below!
linked up with Summer Style Linkup with Mix and Match Fashion // Style Spotlight with Living in Color Style and Stylin' in St. Louis // throwback thursday with happiness at midlife // a labour of life // top of the world style with high latitude style